Friday, February 28, 2014

Happy Birthday, Grams!

Sherry's mom was a leap year baby, so we'll wish her a happy birthday today.  Happy birthday, Grams!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Karmann Ghia

We saw a Karmann Ghia driving around town the other day.  My friend Johnny had one when we were teenagers, and my recollection is that it was his first car.  Here's one for sale via Hemmings for just under $25,000.00.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


This image of Saturn is from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sarah's Theater Portrait

This photograph was taken for Sarah's theater group, the Primary Players.  They have a place in the lobby after their shows with all the performers' portraits, along with their names and the parts they play in the production.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson

On February 24, 1868, the United States House of Representatives adopted a resolution impeaching President Andrew Johnson of Tennessee.  He was not convicted, which would have resulted in his removal from office.  He was the third and last Tennessean to serve as United States President.  Learn more here.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Restaurant Review -- Foothills Milling Company, Maryville, Tennessee

Sherry and I dined Friday night at nearby Foothills Milling Company, 315 South Washington Street, Maryville, Tennessee, as our anniversary/Valentine's Day outing.  (We decided not to fight the crowds on February 14.)  The Foothills Milling website describes the restaurant as "fine dining in an elegant, yet casual setting," which is quite accurate.  I wear a business suit to work every day, and was pleased to be able to have a nice meal and not feel out of place in blue jeans.

Sherry had several friends recommend the goat cheese and onion tart, so we ordered that as an appetizer.  Just before we left for the restaurant we were watching a foodie show about homemade sausages, so we also ordered the sausage board.  Both appetizers were delicious.  We also had salads, and our waiter brought us a sorbet just before our entrees, which were cedar planked salmon and a pork and shrimp dish, all of which was wonderful.

I'm not ordinarily a fancy eater.  I generally prefer simple, southern country food, but I grew up around people in the restaurant business, including a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, so I can appreciate a very nice meal, which Foothills Milling Company provides.  I should also say that the service was excellent, and the knowledgeable server was friendly and helpful.  Our meal, including gratuity, was about $150.00, which is more than we ordinarily spend for a meal, but it was well worth it for the special occasion.  Unfortunately, we were too full after our entrees to even consider dessert, but we did ascertain from our server that we can come in just for dessert some other time.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Washington's Birthday

George Washington, our first President under the United States Constitution, was born February 22, 1732, at Pope's Creek, Virginia. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Monte Cristo Burger

I haven't posted any decadent food here in a while.  Unfortunately, several of the food bloggers I like to follow have gone to recipes that are too fancy for me and/or have started covering restaurants and food events more than posting recipes.  At any rate, to make up for it I give readers the Monte Cristo burger.  I remember liking Monte Cristo sandwiches as a kid, and I ordered one recently at a restaurant and wasn't disappointed.  The burger mutation sounds pretty tempting.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents Day

Today in the United States we celebrate Presidents Day, which honors those who have served as our nation's chief executive.  The February holiday was originally in celebration of George Washington, our first President under the United States Constitution, and was later expanded to honor Abraham Lincoln and then other American Presidents.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Going to Warp Drive

Not Again!

When I opened the door to the sun porch to feed Molly her morning dish of cat chow, I was dismayed to see snow on the ground again.  When I last saw a weather forecast, it looked like we were done with the snow for at least another week.  Fortunately, it did not lay on the roads, so getting out and about town should not be a problem.  Sherry and Sarah are meeting some friends for lunch and then plan to see the Maryville College Theater production of Legally Blonde:  The Musical! at the Clayton Center for the Arts, on the same stage where Sarah recently performed in Willy Wonka, Jr.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fractured Tibia

Sarah's afternoon of sledding ended Thursday afternoon with her and her friend Eli from next door crashing into the chain link fence at the rear of our lot.  She was understandably upset, as well as soaking wet, and we brought her inside, let her take a bath and got her calmed down.  She complained about her left leg, so I put an Ace bandage on it overnight.

Friday morning she was still limping and complaining of pain, so we took her to the pediatrician, who sent her to the hospital for X-rays.  After reviewing her X-rays, he opined that she had fractured her left tibia, also known as the shin bone.  The bone is not broken in two, but it has damage at the top.  From the hospital, she went to see an orthopedic physician, who put her in a soft brace.  She will wear it for two weeks.  Then she will have her next appointment with him and learn whether she will go into a hard cast or not.  She is on crutches for at least the next two weeks.

She is in good spirits and finds the crutches and brace to be novelties, but she's going to be on a pretty short leash physically for quite a while.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is Valentine's Day and the twelfth anniversary of my marriage to my lovely wife.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Melting Snow

Sarah went out for one last round of sledding this afternoon.  I accompanied her and worked on clearing our driveway while she rode her sled down the hill.  Neighbor kids Jamie and Eli joined her for morning and afternoon snow adventures, respectively.  This was a good snow for kids!  If the truth is to be told, I suspect I am not the only adult that had fun in the snow, too.

Our cars are upon the avenue, and the snow continues to melt in Maryville this afternoon.

Another Round of Snow on the Hill

The southeastern United States got pounded by another snow system.  Snow started coming down yesterday morning, and it just stopped this morning.  Folks up north laugh at our reaction to snow down here, but when you have six inches of snow on the ground in Maryville it is an unusual event.
A few years ago  I bought Sarah a cheap plastic sled during a spring clearance sale, and before last night she had only used it once.  She rode it right into a bush in front of the neighbors, and the embarrassment has kept her off of a sled since then.  Last night she got over it in a big way, and we sledded for a couple of hours, much to her (and my) delight.
We went out again this morning and sledded down Faye Street, which was the last street in our neighborhood that had not been scraped.  We jokingly shamed the guy driving the truck when he scraped it, and he took it in good humor.  On his second pass he even apologized to the kids for spoiling their sledding hill.
Our snow angel
Sherry and Sarah ready to launch themselves down the hill, and into a neighbor's trash bin.

Venison Recipes

My stepson Jake and his dad are big deer hunters, and they are kind enough to give us venison from time to time.  Sherry makes a wonderful venison stew, but it never hurts to have a few new recipes, like these from the Art of Manliness.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cotton Mather

On February 12, 1663, Puritan Minister Cotton Mather was born in Boston.  He is known for his part in the Salem witch trials and was named for his grandfather, John Cotton, not for his hairdo.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Star Show

Visit NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day to see a larger version of this spectacular image and for a detailed explanation of what you are seeing.  It was taken in Chile last October.

Maple Bacon Donut Fries

I would definitely try Maple Bacon Donut Fries.  (Via Beyond Frosting)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Home From the Theater

We had a good group for Sarah's matinee performance in Willy Wonka, Jr., this afternoon.  She has one last performance at 7:00 p.m., and the cast party tomorrow afternoon before this production ends.  Grams arrived yesterday, and she, Mom and I visited here at the house for a bit before the show.  We met Laura and Grace and Leslie at the Clayton Center, and our friend Terry and his son Thomas arrived shortly thereafter.  Our neighbor and friend Anita was also there, but we didn't see her until after the show.  It was a fun afternoon!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Our Oompa Loompa

Here is a snapshot of Sarah and one of her fellow cast members in costume and makeup for the Primary Players production of Willy Wonka, Jr., this weekend at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus.  There will be performances at 7:00 p.m. tonight and at 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, and tickets can be purchased at the link or at the door. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Battle of Fort Henry

On February 6, 1862, Union forces under Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant captured Fort Henry, a fortification in Tennessee which was occupied by Confederate troops commanded by Brigadier General Lloyd Tightman.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I Thought They Smelled Bad on the Outside

Although Sarah had a pretty cool little rocking chair that my Mom and my Aunt Penny used when they were kids, she never had a rocking horse when she was little.  I would have remedied that situation if I had known of the existence of these Tauntaun rockers.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Galactic Chicken

In this image from NASA, two spiral galaxies collide in space, shredding into one another until one great galaxy remains.  Scientists predict the one on the left will win, absorbing the other one into it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Venturing Out After the Cold

We were pretty happy at our house this weekend to enjoy some warmer weather after the brutally cold temperatures we had here last week.  Single digit temperatures are not what we Southerners are accustomed to.  Even our cats appreciated the sunshine and warmth.
On Saturday I opened one of our front windows for the beasts, and they both seemed pleased to be outside again for a bit.  Molly planted herself in one of our window boxes, while Emma just stuck her head out the window to have a look around and to sniff the air.

Sunday the clouds came in, but Sarah and I took a stroll over to her school.  We walked past the Everett Senior Center and through the ball fields on the way home.
I love this barn, which is available for rent through Parks and Rec.  When we walked up to it we found wet cardboard boxes and torn up pieces of plastic, which I concluded were the remains of impromptu sleds used during the recent snow. 
Sarah played at the playground near the barn for a while.  This thing is like what we called a merry-go-round as children, but the deck is very, very small in comparison with what I grew up with.  I suspect the new version is much safer.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Groundhog Day!

Today is celebrated as Groundhog Day in the United States, a day upon which we observe the emergence of groundhogs from their lairs to determine whether there will be six more weeks of winter or an early spring.  This silly tradition was given to us by the Pennsylvania Germans.  I'm hoping for the early spring, having already had enough winter for this season.

Sarah's theater group, the Primary Players, will perform their production of Willy Wonka, Jr., beginning Thursday, at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College Campus. She and Sherry spent much of the day yesterday preparing for the big performance, and they will be at play practice or a performance every evening through the last show Saturday evening.  Alas, I shall be a theater widower next week.

UPDATE:  Noooooooo!  The Yankee groundhog up on Gobbler's Knob in Pennsylvania saw his shadow.   I think its time to try a few groundhog recipes. Perhaps the prospect of becoming Groundhog Patties, Groundhog Stew or Groundhog Fricassee will cause those rodents to reconsider.

ALSO:  In Tennessee, it is groundhog season all year and there is no bag limit.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Columbia Disaster

On February 1, 2003, space shuttle Columbia was destroyed upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere.  The members of the crew of mission STS-107, pictured above, were killed, the second shuttle crew to lose their lives to further the exploration of space.